Faithful to Laura (Middlefield Family Series #2)

Faithful to Laura (Middlefield Family Series #2)

4.5 8
by Kathleen Fuller

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LauraÆs Amish faith requires her to forgive, but she can only think of revenge.

Laura Stutzman leaves her Kentucky community for Middlefield, Ohio, with one purpose: to find Mark King, the man who pledged his love to her, then left. She canÆt move on with her life until he explains why.

Sawyer Thompson wasn't born

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LauraÆs Amish faith requires her to forgive, but she can only think of revenge.

Laura Stutzman leaves her Kentucky community for Middlefield, Ohio, with one purpose: to find Mark King, the man who pledged his love to her, then left. She canÆt move on with her life until he explains why.

Sawyer Thompson wasn't born Amish, but has lived in their community for years. Now he must commit to the Amish church or return to the Yankee world. Having suffered loss at a young age, he understands LauraÆs anger, but is determined to follow GodÆs will and forgive. As their friendship grows, Laura begins to let her guard down.

But new information surfaces about SawyerÆs past and threatens the coupleÆs budding relationship. Both Laura and Sawyer will need to release the anger in their hearts and forgive the people whoÆve harmed them. As Laura struggles to trust God, can Sawyer remain faithful to Laura?

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Editorial Reviews

Romantic Times
“This is a great romance with secrets, mystery and characters who are struggling with their faith and their need for revenge. Fuller understands what readers look for in her novels, and she more than meets all expectations.”
Library Journal
Mark King promised to love Laura Stutzman but ran away. Unable to move on until she finds some closure, Laura leaves Kentucky and heads to Ohio to find Mark and demand an explanation. Sawyer Thompson, who has also been burned, has spent several years in an Amish home, and he must decide whether to join the church. Their friendship grows, but can they overcome their pasts and make the commitment they both need? VERDICT Fuller's second Amish series entry (after Treasuring Emma) is a sweet romance with a strong sense of place that will attract readers of Wanda Brunstetter and Cindy Woodsmall.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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Middlefield Family Series , #2
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Faithful to Laura

By Kathleen Fuller

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Kathleen Fuller
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-776-7

Chapter One

"Laura ... you're so beautiful."

Laura Stutzman held her breath, her skin tingling as Mark King touched her smooth cheek. She'd known him for such a short time; less than three months ago he had arrived in Tennessee and found his way to Etheridge, to their little community ... and to her.

He wasn't like the other Amish men she had known all her life. His handsome smile, the all-consuming way he looked at her, as if she were his treasure. He always seemed to know what to do to make her happy. What to say to make her feel cherished.

"I love you, Laura."

Then he began to laugh. His voice seemed to come from above her, and she looked up. High in the dim recesses of the barn, he braced himself against the rafters, clutching a small steel box to his chest. A box she recognized immediately—the one that held her parents' life savings.


The image of his face blurred as a haze of smoke drifted between them. Her breath came in gasps, and the smoke stung her eyes. She turned, panicked, trying to find a way out.

But out of where? The barn was shrinking to a fraction of its size, smaller and smaller. The rafters vanished, and Mark with them.

She started to run, stumbled, and tripped. A body lay unconscious at her feet.

Adam Otto.

How did Adam get here? Where was she? She caught a glimpse of a door, ran to it, and yanked on the doorknob. Locked.

The scent of gasoline made her stomach lurch. She rushed to the window and put her hand on the latch. But before she could open it and call out for help, Mark's face appeared at the windowpane. His lips twisted in a sneer that chilled her heart.

"You're a fool, Laura. A stupid, gullible fool."

He held something in his hand. Flames shot from the top of it. He took a step back, raised his arm, and threw.

"Mark!" she cried out. "Nee!"

Laura tried to shield her face, but it was too late. Shards of glass tore into her skin. Cutting. Burning. Smoke choked her throat.

When she pulled her hands away from her face, her fingers were covered with blood.

* * *


Hands gripped her shoulders. The smoke cleared; the searing pain in her face subsided.


"Laura, it's Adam."

She blinked and came to with a sharp October breeze slicing through her thin nightgown. It was nearly dawn. The pale gray light revealed a pile of ashes where Emma's grandfather's workshop used to be.

"Are you okay? I was in Emma's barn feeding the horses, and I heard you scream—"

Exposed and vulnerable in her nightdress, Laura pulled away and crossed her arms over her chest. "I'm fine."

"You're shivering." Adam took off his coat and put it around her shoulders.

Embarrassment heated her face. Being caught outside in her nightgown was bad enough. Even worse was the lingering fear the nightmare left behind. The terrifying dreams were coming every night, and now she had sleepwalked to the place where the attack had happened. Memories slammed into her, taking her back to that horrible day, making it seem as if it were happening all over again.

She touched her hand to her cheek, felt the fine ridges of the now-healing scars. It was real.

"It's not a gut idea for you to be out here."

Laura looked at Adam Otto, the Shetlers' next-door neighbor. Saw the understanding in his eyes. Mark had attacked him too. But he was healing. His hair was growing out, and he could hide his scar with his hat. He had the ability to move past the damage Mark King had caused him and the Shetler family.

She looked at the ash heap again.

Mark was gone, but his lies and sneers and jeering laughter remained, burrowing deep into her subconscious, coming to the surface in her dreams.

What a fool she had been!

Shame wrapped around her heart, a razor-sharp strand of barbed wire, and despite the fact that the scars were healing and the ashes had grown cold, she doubted that she'd ever be free or whole again.

* * *

"Are you sure you don't want to come?"

Laura fought the urge to cringe as Leona Shetler's clear, pale eyes questioned her. Leona was a kind soul who had welcomed Laura into the home she shared with her granddaughter Emma.

The old woman was wearing her Sunday clothes, complete with black bonnet, leaning on her ever-present cane. Emma was downstairs, also dressed in her best, and ready to go. But they weren't going to church today. Instead, they were attending a wedding.

Laura's hand went to her face. A wedding was the last place she wanted to be.

"If you're fretting about an official invite, don't give it a second thought. The Mullets will be happy to have you."

Leona smiled, and the lines deepened at the corners of her eyes. Lines earned through seventy-five years of living.

The scarred lines on Laura's face were Mark King's parting gift.

"Maybe next time."

Laura faced the bedroom window and looked outside. Adam was hitching his horse to a fine-looking buggy. Like Emma and Leona, he was also well dressed, with a black felt hat, slim black pants, black vest, and a crisp, white long-sleeved shirt.

Leona put her hand on Laura's shoulder. "You can join us for this Sunday's service, then."

Her encouraging smile didn't alter Laura's mood. She wouldn't be any more willing to attend church on Sunday than the wedding today. "Ya," she replied, "Sunday service."

"Ready to geh?" Emma called from downstairs.

"Ya." Despite her years, Leona's voice rang strong. She peered over Laura's shoulder and looked out the window as Adam climbed into the buggy. "I see Emma's yung mann is ready too."

Laura tried to summon a smile at Leona's pleased tone. Although she hadn't known the Shetlers long, they had instantly treated her like family. Emma and Adam were in love. Anyone could tell.

At least they're happy.

"I'd better hurry. Don't want to keep them waiting." Leona's version of hurrying amounted to shuffling her feet across the wide plank floor while she balanced with her cane. Laura started to ask if she needed help, but she knew Leona would refuse. Laura understood about the need for independence.

She remained at the window after Leona left, watching as the two women walked to Adam's buggy. He helped Leona into the backseat. Once they were all settled inside, they drove off, leaving Laura to wrestle with her thoughts.

She sat on the bed and looked around the room. It was a little larger, but quite similar to her simple, sparse bedroom at home in Tennessee.

Home, she thought. Family. A job. A life. All she'd left behind. But she couldn't go back to any of that. Not when she'd failed those who trusted her most.

Her nerves were taut as a bowstring. She got up and paced across the room, then back again.

Maybe a bath would help settle her down. In the bathroom she leaned over and drew the water, watching it fill the tub as she tried to push ugly thoughts away. She undressed, turned off the tap, then halted when she caught a glimpse of her face in the mirror over the sink.

Spidery red scars crisscrossed her cheeks and forehead. A thicker one slashed across her chin. Her eyes weren't damaged. The doctors called that lucky.

But she wasn't lucky. Or blessed, as Leona and Emma would say. They insisted that the daily applications of vitamin E oil were helping the scars fade. But there were deeper scars, invisible ones.

No cosmetic treatments could heal a soul.

Laura slid into the warm water, letting it rise up to her chin, then pulled her head underneath. She could stay under. Breathe in the water, let it fill her lungs and drain her life. Then there would be no more scars. No more pain. No more hate growing like a thorny vine around her heart.

Her head pounded as she held her breath. Her lungs felt on fire. The instinct for survival thrummed its message in her pulse. Breathe in! Breathe in!

Close to bursting, she sprang from the water, gasping for air. She put her hand on her chest and felt her heart racing beneath the wet skin. Salty tears mingled with the tepid bathwater.

She couldn't do it. Couldn't take her own life.

There would be no escape for her. No freedom, no sweet oblivion. The past would hold her in its clutches—and never let her go.

Chapter Two

"I'll admit I thought you and Mary Beth might end up together."

Sawyer Thompson looked at Johnny Mullet in surprise. The wedding had ended a couple hours ago, and after helping with the outside cleanup, the two friends had remained in the backyard. "Why would you think that?"

Johnny shrugged and looked out onto the pasture in front of them. The Mullets' three cows munched on the last remnants of fall grass. Soon it would all be brown stubble. "Just thought it would be nice to have you as a brother-in-law."

Sawyer clapped Johnny on the shoulder. "In my mind, we're already brothers." He nodded toward the house, where Mary Beth and Christopher Shetler were still inside, along with other family members and friends from the community. "Besides, even if I thought of Mary Beth as more than a sister, I don't think I would be much competition."

"Ya. She's been writing about Christopher in her diary for years."

Sawyer's brow lifted. "You knew that?"

Johnny faced him, grinning. "You didn't think you were the only one who read her diary?" He laughed and faced the field again. "Although I just did it to get under her skin. Worked too. She didn't talk to me for days. It was great. Finally, a break from all that chattering."

Sawyer chuckled. For all his teasing, Johnny couldn't fool him. He knew that Johnny loved his twin sister; the three of them had been inseparable since the first day they met five years ago.

At fourteen, Sawyer had run away from foster care and hidden out in an old run-down barn near the Mullets' property. A lifetime ago, it seemed. He had found Mary Beth's diary, and ultimately the friendship of the Mullet family.

"Don't get me wrong," Johnny said. "I like Christopher. He's a gut mann." He tilted his black hat a few inches off his forehead, revealing a shock of dark brown hair. "But it would have been great to have you as an official part of the familye."

Sawyer gripped the fence and leaned back, smiling. It was nice to be wanted. To be a part of something. After his parents had died, he hadn't thought that would ever happen again.

"Me and Mary Beth?" Sawyer said. "Nah. I always thought of her as a sister. And she's had her sights set on Shetler for a long time."


"Speaking of someone who has her sights set ..." Sawyer grinned and tilted his head toward Katherine Yoder as she approached. "Your girl is coming."

Johnny stepped away from the fence. "She's not my maedel."

"She'd sure like to be."

Practically all of Middlefield knew that Katherine Yoder had a crush on Johnny Mullet. Sawyer teased Johnny about it mercilessly.

"Nee. I'll see you later." Johnny poised to make a break for it.

Sawyer grabbed his arm. "Chicken."

"Yep, that's me." His panicked eyes flitted in Katherine's direction. He pulled away from Sawyer, made a clucking sound, and scurried away.

Sawyer started to follow him, but Katherine had arrived.

"Where did Johnny go?"

He shrugged. It would be a lot easier if Johnny would just take care of Katherine himself. Why did he keep avoiding her? Whenever Katherine came around, Johnny bolted like a goat on a barbed wire fence. "You know how he is. Here one minute, gone the next. Guess he went inside."

"I'm sure it's because he saw me coming."

Sawyer didn't respond. They both knew the truth. If Mary Beth had been foolish for Christopher for the past five years, Katherine had loved Johnny twice as long.

"Oh well." Her tone was light, but her blue eyes reflected disappointment. "I guess I'll talk to him later." She walked away, the white ribbons of her kapp fluttering against her navy jacket.

Sawyer shook his head and stuck his hands in the pockets of the black Sunday pants his adopted mother, Anna Byler, had made for him. What was wrong with Johnny? The guy had everything—a great family, a steady job working at a machine repair shop, and a pretty girl who thought the sun rose and set with him. Most of all, his friend had a secure sense of himself. He'd joined the church at seventeen without hesitation. So had Mary Beth, Christopher, and Katherine. None of them had a second thought about making a lifetime commitment to the Amish faith.

Sawyer, on the other hand, was filled with second thoughts. And thirds. And fourths.

He couldn't seem to make up his mind. He enjoyed working with his adopted father, Lukas, in the family carpentry busi- ness, yet wondered if he shouldn't go on to college. He'd had the chance to date Yankee girls in high school, but he never did. He ignored any attention from the Amish girls too. They were all nice. Friendly. Available. But he wouldn't string them along. Not when he didn't know what the future held.

"She's gone?"

Sawyer turned to see Johnny behind him. "Yeah, she's gone. Where did you disappear to?"

"Other side of the barn."

"Look, man," Sawyer said, "you need to do something about Katherine. You're nineteen years old, not twelve. If you don't like her, tell her so she can move on."

"It's not that simple."

"Sure it is."

"Nee. It's not." Johnny's brown eyes grew solemn. "Maybe you should consider taking your own advice."


"I'm not the only one who needs to deal with something. Unless you're planning to spend the rest of your life seesawing between the Amish and Yankee worlds."

Sawyer grimaced. "It's not that—"

"Simple?" Suddenly Johnny grinned, as if the quick moment of seriousness never happened. "It's mei schwester's wedding. We should be inside celebrating. Or commiserating with the groom."

* * *

"They make such a nice couple," Emma said.

Adam moved closer and touched Emma's back, letting his palm linger against her waist. "I know who else makes a gut couple."

His touch sent her nerves spiking. But she stepped away from him.

His grin faded. "What's wrong?"

Emma glanced around the room, filled with people from their district, celebrating Mary Beth Mullet and Emma's cousin Christopher's wedding. She couldn't talk about anything personal, not when anyone might overhear the conversation. Adam should know that. Just as he should have known not to touch her in such an intimate way in public. But Adam wasn't a typical Amishman.

As if he had read her thoughts, Adam jerked his head toward the door. "I'll get your coat."

"I'm not ready to leave."

"Don't worry. We'll come back."

She followed. What was he thinking? He'd given her the space and time she'd asked for. Yet now he seemed different.

He handed over her black coat and she slipped it on. They left the house, Adam striding to the row of buggies parked on the side of the Mullets' yard. He stopped in front of one of them. Then he suddenly took her hand and pulled her behind it. "Don't you want to get married?"

His blunt question threw her off. She cast her gaze to the ground. "Adam, you promised we would take this slow."

He sighed and stepped away. "I know. It's just that seeing Christopher and Mary Beth ... Emma, you know how I feel about you."

Heat suffused her cheeks, ran through her body until she didn't feel the nip of the winter air. The pain of the past still gnawed at her. She had trusted him once, and he had betrayed her.

"You're afraid," he said.

"And you're a mind reader."

"I don't have to read your mind. Your feelings are written all over your face." He lowered his voice. "Your beautiful face."

When he looked at her like that, his hazel eyes filled with such love and promise, Emma couldn't think. And in the past, not thinking had torn her heart in two.

"I'm sorry. I'm pushing you and I said I wouldn't."

She nodded. "I can't give you what you want, Adam. At least not now."

"I know." He stepped away. A cool breeze kicked up, rocking the bare branches on the trees surrounding the Mullets' property. "It's just that I'm ready to begin my life again."

"But you have. You've joined the church. You've reconciled with your family ... and with God."

"I have," he said. A ghost of a smile flitted across his face. "And I've decided that I want to join my daed and help him run the farm."

"But I thought you didn't like farming."

"Things change. I've changed. Coming back home, surviving the accident, knowing that I belong here." He lifted his hand toward her face, then pulled it back without touching her. "It's hard for me to wait."

Emma finally smiled. He'd never been a patient man. "I need more time, Adam. I need to be sure about us, about—"

"Me." He nodded. "We better get back before we're missed."

"Ya. I don't want Grossmammi to be upset that we're alone together."

Adam grinned. "I have a feeling she won't be."

* * *

After the wedding, Adam took Emma and Leona home. Once they were inside, he went next door, put his horse up in the barn and his buggy underneath the covered shelter, and headed for the house. His parents had left the wedding early, right after the ceremony. It was unlike them to pass up an opportunity for fellowship with the community.


Excerpted from Faithful to Laura by Kathleen Fuller Copyright © 2012 by Kathleen Fuller. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Faithful to Laura 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
Faithful to Laura was an enjoyable book. It is the second in Kathleen Fuller's Middlefield Family series. I enjoyed this story more than the first of this series. I enjoy the way the author continued to expand on the characters from the first novel of the series. In this book, we see the developing relationship of Laura and Sawyer. They both have past experiences that have been hurtful in their lives and both have big decisions to make that will impact their futures. The side story going on about Emma and Adam (the couple from the first book of the series), and also about Adam's parents, was very good and helped to add more to the story from the first novel, Treasuring Emma.
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
A good Amish story about forgiveness... I will say that I did have a hard time with the first 1/3 or so of the book. I figured out that Faithful To Laura is the 2nd book in a series, so I had no clue about the characters' back-stories etc. It was kind of like coming in halfway through the movie. I was able to figure out a lot of the story but I am going to be looking for the 1st book in the series so I can get myself caught up. This book is all about forgiveness and not holding onto things. Most of the characters have one reason or another that they either have to forgive or be forgiven. When it came down to it, the characters each had figure out on their own to go to the One they should have in the first place. No matter what happens in life we are supposed to forgive just as our Father forgave us. At times things seemed to moved a little fast, specifically relationships, but the story really was well written. I felt the betrayal, anger and pain with Laura and Sawyer. And I really wanted to see Mark King get his just deserts, and thus justice for Laura. A good Amish story from a good author, and an important lesson for all of us, Yankee (Englischer) and Amish alike.
THESELF-TAUGHTCOOK More than 1 year ago
The scars the Mark King left on Laura Stutzman are not only emotional, but physical. She knows that her Amish faith calls for her to forgive, but she wants revenge. When she moves to Middlefield, Ohio to find him, she finds Sawyer Thompson instead. Sawyer has one foot in the Amish world and one foot in the English world. Which world will win Sawyer's heart? As a frequent flier in the Amish genre, I have read most of the authors and their ideas of Amish life, so much so that I find myself wishing for an unpredictable ending, the plot twist you don't see coming, or the mystery that is actually difficult to solve from your sofa. While this is a nice, enjoyable Amish novel, it does not deliver on that scale. When Sawyer's grandmother arrives (slight spoiler alert!), everything about this stock character was predictable, right down to her maid, Manuela. I do not mean to offend the author; it may be that I have read too many of these, and need a break. But while, as I said, it was good, it fell a little flat for me somewhere along the way. 4 stars Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
wfnren More than 1 year ago
Captured my interest, a great job Kathleen Laura Stutzman came to Middlefield, OH to find the man who had pledged his love to her, then left leaving her with a broken heart, broken spirit, and with all of her family's money that they'd saved for 30 years. She blamed herself for the loss of the family savings and that's why she went looking for him, not because of her broken heart. When she did find him he attempted to kill her. Now she felt like she couldn't go home until she could earn the money to replace what they'd lost, but who would hire her looking the way she did now. Sawyer Thompson, an Englisher, was adopted by Lucas and Anna Byler after his parents had died and he got abused while in foster homes. He loved his parents, biological and adoptive, he was allowed to mix both worlds and it was his decision as to whether he'd join the Amish Church or not. Adam Otto's parents still are not talking to each other but Emma has agreed to marry him. Emma's grandma is happy for them but Adam's parents are showing no excitement over what he felt they had always wanted. When he told his mom and she told him to tell his dad, when Adam finds him, all he can talk about is Adam's time living as an Englisher. Adam admits to sleeping with a girl twice, so his dad tells him that he has to inform Emma. Deciding his father is right, Adam goes to Emma, Emma doesn't know quite how to handle this information until she has a talk with her grandmother. Leona, Emma's grandma, goes to talk to Norman, Adam's dad, and tells him that he has to share his secret with his wife. Norman follow's Leona's advice and confesses his sin to Carol, but they are still two people living separately in one house and trying, although not doing a very good job of it, to hide what is now their secret from their son. Laura gets a job working for Lucas Byler and isn't working their very long when Cora Easley bursts onto the scene and disrupts the happy Byler family. She's trying to get Sawyer to leave and move to New York with her, claiming to be his grandmother. Cora goes so far as to pay Laura off so she'll help convince Sawyer to go with her. This was a great read with a several story lines intertwined somewhat. Kathleen really held my interest with this one. You will have to run out and get this book because you really have to see what the secrets are, does Laura ever confront the thief that stole her heart and the family savings and is Cora really Sawyers grandmother. Wonderful writing Kathleen. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a story I had a problrm putting down. Often times I would continue reading until midnight.I could not wait to get to the end. out
weatherlover1 More than 1 year ago
Book two picks up pretty close to where book one left off. Laura is trying to heal emotionally from her burns that she received from Mark in book 1. Her goal is to get a job and pay her parents back the money that Mark stole. As luck would have it Sawyer shows up for supper one night with a job and Laura takes it. Sawyer is adopted and is trying to decide if he is going to join the Amish church or not. He soon finds out he has a biological grandmother who is not Amish and she wants him to come back to New York and take his place as the new head of her big company. Laura finds herself drawn to Sawyer and even though she plans to never trust a man again Sawyer finds a way into her heart. Sawyer can see past Laura’s burns and finds himself drawn to her. Will these two over come the odds to find love? This book was okay but to be honest this book as way to many storylines and not enough pages. What I liked: I really like the characters in this book. Emma and Adam are back as well as Emma’s grandma. I like the family and want to see them all happy. I also found myself rooting for Laura and Sawyer. What I did not like: There was to many people telling this story. We see Emma and Adam again and it’s a continuation of book one to a point thrown in with Laura and Sawyers story. We also get to know Sawyers blood grandmother. On top of that we also deal with Adams mom and dad and an issue going on with them. It was just to many different storylines and I felt the story of Laura and Sawyer was not developed as well as it could have been. I also don’t know why the issue with Adam’s parents could not have been in book one. It just was all thrown into this book and felt like to much. I did like the story line I just wish it has been more Laura and Sawyer. I am interested to see where book three goes and how this series will wrap up. It is a sweet story and if you like Amish Fiction check it out but be sure to check out book one first.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
Laura Stutzman is now living in Middlefield OH, and she is trying to find Mark King. He is the man who disfigured her and stole her parents life savings. Laura is so self conscious about her face, and has become so house bound. She is staying with her Grandmother, and want to do something to earn some money to pay her parents back. Enter Sawyer Thompson, his Dad owns a Woodworking Shop, and needs someone to run the office. He comes to Laura's Grandmother's house and offers the job to Emma. Emma has way to much on her hands to do, and declines. Before he leaves Laura asks him for the job. There is so much going on in this story. Will Laura be able to make peace with herself and God for all that has happened to her. Will Sawyer decide to stay Amish and join the Church? Will Emma and Adam finally end up together? I loved this visit, and all the folks I've come to enjoy being with. Catch up on the ongoing stories, or if this is your first visit in Middlefield...enjoy yourself. I received this book from Booksneeze and the Publisher Thomas Nelson, and was not required to give a positive review.